Fortunately, there are a few Doctor of Athletic Training (DAT) programs that are currently available through a 100% online format. These types of programs make learning convenient for those with full-time employment.

With that in mind, please consider that some online programs may require synchronous courses, as well as, asynchronous classwork. The synchronous format means some of your classes may require you to attend coursework or lectures at a certain time of the day to complete the requirements.

Doctor of Athletic Training

In addition, many DAT programs are offered through the hybrid format. In this setting, your school program is predominately offered online, however, they also require on-campus attendance. For example, some demand 4-5 days of on-campus work per semester or have clinical residency requirements for graduation.

If possible, exercise is something that most of us try to avoid. While the benefits have been proven to improve the quality of life, sometimes, it’s just hard to develop the habit. However, if you are an athletic trainer, being in good physical condition is your job or at least part of it!

To reach your full potential, why not earn a Doctor of Athletic Training degree to help you assist others? Encourage others to maintain good physical and emotional health while playing sports or other related activities.

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Table of Contents

Best Doctor of Athletic Training fact

Best Online and Traditional Doctor of Athletic Training Degree Programs




School Highlights: The online Doctorate in Athletic Training from A.T. Still University is an incredibly thorough distance education degree. The curriculum is broken down into multiple foundational groups, such as Clinical Decision-Making and Applied Research. It then supplies concentration options that focus the coursework into specific areas of the discipline.

Students accepted into this program have an extensive professional and educational history in athletic training and attend A.T. Still University to drastically refine already well-developed skills.

Graduates gain an impressive amount of clinical experience and knowledge that can be immediately applied to a position of employment in athletic training, which is just one of the many benefits of an online degree. More importantly, graduates become empowered in their careers as academic leaders, healthcare administrators, and expert clinicians with a passion for promoting their profession! Their advanced skill sets become useful in creating and implementing viable solutions to current issues in community and individual health. 

This is a 69-credit post-graduate program where students build their expertise in clinical decision-making, applied research, and innovations in the field of athletic training. ATSU specifically designed it with experienced athletic training professionals looking for a terminal degree with real-world clinical applications. 

Aside from the doctorate degree, students can also tailor their educational experience by pursuing one or more of the 20 graduate certificates. Attainment of these certifications is akin to gaining specialist skills and, thus, boosting your opportunities for career advancement. 

If you already have a Master of Science in Athletic Training degree from ATSU, you can apply the courses to the DAT degree program. Your advanced standing means you can earn the DAT degree within 24 months instead of the usual 36-month time-to-completion. 

The admission requirements include: 

  • A master’s degree, minimum, from an institution with regional accreditation 
  • Official transcripts from the institution where the master’s degree was earned 
  • Minimum of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) graduate cumulative GPA 
  • Certification from the Board of Certification (BOC) or its substantial equivalent from foreign credentialing bodies in case of international students  
  • Proof of state licensure with its photocopy being acceptable 
  • One completed and signed official recommendation form 
  • Application form with complete and accurate details 

GRE scores aren’t required but proof of proficiency in the English language with applicants choosing from three options.  First, English is your first language; second, you have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited four-year post-secondary institution in the US; and third, you meet the minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores. 

Proficiency in word processing software and computer literacy are also required of candidates. Every candidate must also pass a phone interview before admission into the program. 

Concentration Options:

  • Rehabilitation
  • Orthopaedics
  • Leadership and Education
  • Sports Neurology and Concussion

Campus Location: Kirksville, MO


  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604, (800) 621-7440
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education



Temple University


School Highlights: Temple University is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the entire country. It also provides outstanding distance education options, such as the online Doctor of Athletic Training through the College of Public Health.

This curriculum was designed for working, certified athletic trainers seeking further advancement, knowledge, and enhanced skills in the profession. Temple University ensures diversity and inclusivity in its student body, too, resulting in better student experiences! Students expand not just their career-specific knowledge and skills but also their perspectives of their profession, peers and patients. 

The curriculum consists of 36 credits with an expected two-year time-to-completion. Students must also be enrolled in the regular and summer terms to earn the degree in two years. Courses, however, vary in length from six-week to 15-week sessions with all of them offered entirely online. 

These courses are also delivered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Students then interact with their peers and professors, access learning materials and submit assignments, and perform other academic-related activities through digital technologies. These include:

  • web-based conferencing,
  • video meetings,
  • chat rooms,
  • live class discussions,
  • and discussion boards.

Furthermore, every core class has a synchronous schedule that students are well-advised to follow. There is a strong emphasis on concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries.

Professional skills learned also include the survey, interpretation and application of research literature; the use of evidence-based techniques toward the improvement of patient outcomes; and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Students work closely with renowned faculty members and a diverse cohort through extensive scenarios that instill excellent leadership and teamwork qualities in all online students. 

Faculty members also encourage students to participate in departmental research as part of their educational experience. The current research projects include:

  • human balance and locomotion;
  • biomarkers associated with brain injuries;
  • and cellular and molecular mechanisms related to exercise and muscle adaptation. 

Temple University has several research centers, too, where these projects are being conducted. The Athletic Training Division Laboratory, Translational Exercise Biology Laboratory, and Sport Concussion Laboratory are a few of these facilities. 

Applicants must use the SOPHAS Express portal to submit the necessary application documents including: 

  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Goals statement 
  • Current résumé
  • Official transcripts 
  • Photocopy of BOC card 

Applicants who are considered for admission will undergo an interview but aren’t guaranteed admission. 

Temple also offers additional options to enhance students’ prospects, for example, in the Teaching in Higher Education Certificate. Individuals without a master’s degree in athletic training can apply to Temple’s program while certified athletic trainers with a keen interest in research may consider the MS in Kinesiology with Athletic Training concentration program. Both master’s degrees are accepted as the foremost admission requirement to the DAT program. 

Coursework Sample:

  • Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions
  • Evidence Based Decision Making in Athletic Training
  • Rehabilitation Methods and Techniques for Sports-Related Injuries

Campus Location: Philadelphia, PA


  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    3624 Market Street, Suite 2 West
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, (267) 284-5000
  • Council on Education for Public Health





School Highlights:

Indiana State is well-known for its excellent online programs and has appeared on numerous lists of the best distance education schools in America. Among these programs is the 24-month, 57-credit hybrid learning doctorate in athletic training with a mission of developing exceptional leaders, scholars and practitioners in the field. Students prepare for improved advanced-level instruction and patient care in athletic training in schools, healthcare and wellness facilities, and communities. 

Students attend classes and complete coursework both online and on-campus in an intensive, hands-on-learning-style program. Individuals can expect to have live, face-to-face contact with faculty members, academic advisors, and peers during 12-15 days of on-site instruction during the academic year, usually in July, November, and April. These on-campus sessions are mandatory unless valid circumstances prevent attendance and their schedules are announced in advance. 

Otherwise, the program is completed entirely online, aside from the various clinical experiences and possible assistantships. The program uses both synchronous and asynchronous delivery for its courses. 

Students learn as a cohort and, thus, make progress as a group. A small class size of 25 students means ISU can maintain academic excellence and one-on-one attention for its doctorate students.

Continuous and full-time enrollment for 24 months is required for all students; part-time enrollment isn’t available at present. Students are well-advised to devote 3-5 hours of study time per credit per week; each course is equivalent to 1-3 credits. 

This is a no-dissertation program but students are required to complete several research projects throughout their stay. Many of these research projects may be published in scientific journals, too. Due to the research-intensive design, students prepare to become scholarly technicians with a passion for real-world applications. 

The curriculum includes three courses in directed research where students choose their topics based on their professional interest, among other factors. Like with a dissertation, students must also pass an intensive oral and written defense of their research projects. 

Students must also engage in professional clinical experiences and, thus, are required to sign affiliation agreements including supervisor agreements with ISU. These are possible through graduate assistantships, paid internships, and/or paid employment. 

Coursework Sample:

  • Manual Therapy
  • Underserved Populations and Emerging Settings
  • Innovations in Collaborative Health Care

Campus Location: Terre Haute, IN


  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604, (800) 621-7440
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education



University of Idaho


School Highlights:

The University of Idaho is the very first school in the nation to offer an advanced academic doctorate in athletic training. It is a hybrid model program that is perfectly suited to full-time, practicing professionals working in educational, clinical, or traditional settings.

There is a particularly strong emphasis on improving clinical practice through manual therapy techniques combined with plenty of opportunities to contribute to the existing body of knowledge through original research. 

Students complete 66 credits to earn the doctorate degree. The 24-month cohort program has small class sizes to maintain instruction quality. Applications are accepted until April 15 each year. Each cohort starts in June of each year with the fall and spring semesters filled with clinical rotations, which the faculty must approve prior to admission. Students can then attend graduate school and work full-time while also allowing them to apply their didactic coursework on their active clinical practice. 

The curriculum has three focus areas – clinical practice and its current issues; applied research; and clinical residency. The program starts with the on-campus summer term with three courses in manual therapy and practice, among others. The fall and spring terms are characterized by hybrid delivery of courses in:

  • action research,
  • clinical residency,
  • and applied research, to name a few. 

This means students spend a total of four weeks on campus every summer for live coursework sessions and attend online classes throughout the fall, winter, and spring terms. Students complete residency and clinical requirements in their home communities, which often lead to outstanding employment opportunities. 

Students are encouraged to engage in community-centric services through programs like the Free Injury Clinic. Here, they participate in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of athletic-related injuries and illnesses under the guidance of faculty members. 

Coursework Sample:

  • Holistic Foundations of Pain in Patient Care
  • Designing and Conducting Applied Research in Patient Care
  • Leadership and Mentoring in Athletic Training and Clinical Practice

Campus Location: Moscow, ID


  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    8060 165th Avenue NE, Suite 200
    Redmond, Washington 98052, (425) 558-4224
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education





School Highlights:

At Moravian College, a hybrid online school, students engage in a Doctor of Athletic Training that supports students’ professional practice in real-time. Students can still work full-time at their jobs provided that they can cope with the accelerated pace. 

The curriculum is designed to enhance students’ skills in their personal work environments and their clinical experiences. It is a six-semester degree that can be finished in two years and includes two week-long residencies. It has three start dates, too – fall, spring and summer – meaning professional athletic trainers can start their post-graduate studies at their convenience. But enrollment in May means being ineligible for the Summer Institute in that academic year. 

While on campus, students take advantage of a 40,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center. The rest of the program is completed entirely online, using high-quality learning platforms that connect students with expert faculty members.

The coursework includes pivotal topics in athletic training, such as:

  • advanced therapeutic modalities,
  • clinical imaging,
  • epidemiology,
  • leadership,
  • and entrepreneurship.

Admission is on a selective basis and retention is just as challenging. Students must maintain at least 3.0 overall GPA or be on probation for the first instance or be dismissed from the program on the second instance. Students must also maintain a “C” grade, minimum, in all DAT courses or be dismissed from the program, too. 

Applicants must have the following credentials to be considered for admission:  

  • At least 3.0 GPA for a master’s degree or for the last 60 credits of a bachelor’s degree Current ATC credential 
  • Current AT state license 
  • Proof of current practice including consistent patient care 
  • Preferential consideration for applicants with five years of full-time practice experience 

Application requirements include: 

  • One academic letter of recommendation and one clinical letter of recommendation 
  • Clinical practice statement 
  • Personal statement 
  • Resume 
  • Official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended 
  • Virtual or in-person interview 

Individuals interested in earning a dual doctorate degree in athletic training and a master’s degree in business administration (DAT-MBA) should check out Moravian’s program. 

Coursework Sample:

  • Entrepreneurship in Sports Medicine
  • Performing Arts Medicine
  • Leadership in Athletic Training

Campus Location: Bethlehem, PA


  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    3624 Market Street, Suite 2 West
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, (267) 284-5000


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Doctor of Arts degree?

Often considered a pragmatic approach to a doctorate, a doctor of arts degree is the best step for someone who wishes to concentrate and master a particular field of study but with emphasis on teaching it. It is an academic degree of the highest level. A Doctor of Arts degree is also conferred as an honorary degree with the added designation of honoris causa.

Unlike a traditional Ph.D., it requires less research. Instead, most D.A. degrees revolve around teaching internships, teaching methods, and curriculum design coursework. It is instrumental in equipping scholars with the necessary breadth and diversity to become teachers in their chosen field.

But while it is usually described as a “teaching doctorate,” a D.A. degree is not the same as a Doctor of Education degree which is more concerned with issues in education and a theoretical and practical preparation in pedagogy.

Most Doctors of Arts degree programs include a concentration in:

  • music,
  • history,
  • or literature.

There are also D.A. degree programs that focus on:

  • political science,
  • mathematics,
  • economics,
  • biology English,
  • chemistry,
  • and physical education.

In general, Doctor of Arts programs provides extensive training in pedagogy, with the goal of demonstrating a variety of pedagogical techniques and skills. Doctor of Arts students are also expected to craft a distinct teaching philosophy.

How do I earn my Doctor of Arts degree?

Aspiring Doctor of Arts students must file an application to the graduate school of their choice where the said degree program is offered. Most D.A. degree programs require applicants to acquire a master’s degree from an accredited college or university.

Some stipulate a specific cumulative GPA, usually of 3.00 or better. Application forms are generally available online. Students may be asked to give a non-refundable application fee.

Some of the additional requirements include an official transcript of records from universities or colleges where they earned their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

In specific fields like music, performance and auditions are required. Schools often have a list of accepted instruments for an audition so checking their websites can make your application for admission easier.

Once admitted, D.A.students are taught and trained in several areas including college-level teaching, research, and the specific field of their study. Aside from the coursework, students need to complete a thesis (usually around 50,000-80,000 words). Generally, the thesis for Doctor of Arts candidates is focused on questions of professional practice. For example, a D.A. in social sciences degree program tackles policy analysis and advice.

A thesis requirement can be replaced by a significant creative project. It can be a novel, biography, memoir, poetic works, plays, or video works.

Do I need a Doctor of Arts degree to work in the academe?

The short answer is yes. This degree is especially valuable if you want to be prepared for faculty positions within higher education. It makes a strong impression on hiring committees. A D.A. degree provides hands-on experience as a college teacher, preparing students to acquire a well-rounded set of professional skills.

What career paths do graduates in Doctor of Arts usually take?

The most common career path for Doctor of Arts degree programs is in the academe. Holding a teaching position in colleges and universities is made easier with acquired teaching skills in a particular field that few faculty candidates possess. D.A. degree holders can also work in industries that require research and writing skills in one specific area of study. They can become scholars in their fields.

D.A. programs prepare graduates in their essential role in developing and enhancing departmental programs that help mentor students and faculty when it comes to disciplinary teaching and learning. D.A. graduates take up faculty and leadership positions in higher education, filling a niche that Ph.D. graduates cannot fulfill.

What salary range can I expect with my Doctor of Arts degree?

Doctor of Arts degree holders who enter the world of academe usually receives an average salary of $34,000 to $70,000 a year, excluding bonuses. Their pay can vary depending on the institution where they teach, whether it is in public or private colleges and universities. Their salary can also depend on their area of expertise. Music teachers can earn as much as $84,780 per year.

Other faculty positions that D.A. degree holders can explore include curriculum advisor and curriculum developer. These positions require specialized knowledge of their particular field of study with a median salary of $63,000.

What schools offer online and traditional Doctor of Arts programs?

Numerous colleges and universities are offering the Doctor of Arts program on-campus. It includes the University of Northern Colorado, Ball State University in Indiana, George Mason University in Virginia, and Idaho State University. In Pennsylvania, Holy State University offers the program online.

When seeking to advance your career and expertise in higher education, earning a Doctor of Arts degree is something you will not regret. It will not only ensure your competitiveness when it comes to employment, but this degree program will also help shape you into a scholar of your chosen field, deepening and expanding your knowledge and skills in a particular area of study with the aim to apply it in pedagogy.